(DAHLONEGA) – The University of North Georgia Athletic Department is welcoming student-athletes back to campus for voluntary activities as part of its institutional return-to-campus plan. This is in line with UNG’s plans for a phased return to campus that seeks to mitigate the risks of spread of COVID-19.

“The overall safety and health of our student-athletes will always remain paramount,” said UNG Athletic Director Lindsay Reeves. “Our Athletics COVID-19 Action Team has put together a comprehensive plan that aligns with institutional and NCAA guidelines to ensure the safe return to sport for our student-athletes and staff.”

The detailed protocols was developed in conjunction with University officials and the UNG Athletics COVID-19 Action Team. The plan incorporates an extensive, phased-in approach for select student-athletes and staff to return to UNG’s facilities. Phase I of the plan begins on Monday, June 22, with the return of a controlled pilot of student-athletes from women’s cross country and men’s and women’s soccer. It will also include the return of athletic trainers and sports performance coaches. The plan also includes a phased return for the remainder of UNG’s sports. 

Prior to the arrival of student-athletes and staff to the University, the Athletics department established the following facility and operational guidelines: 

• Ability to train and work out while still using current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines
• Ability to test for COVID-19 when symptomatic
• Quarantine and isolation protocols 
• Contact tracing in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Public Health
• Virtual education for student-athletes and staff in advance of arriving on campus
• Daily screening and temperature checks
• Return-to-activity protocols for COVID-19 positive cases

Student-athletes will be broken into small groups of 10 for workouts as permitted under NCAA rules. Voluntary workouts will be conducted with appropriate physical distancing in the Memorial Hall Strength and Conditioning Center and at the UNG Soccer Field at Cottrell Park.

All athletic operations will follow enhanced sanitation protocols, including expanded hand sanitizer stations and surface disinfection in frequently used common areas, shared spaces, and touch points. Coaches, staff, and student-athletes will be expected to maintain six feet of separation when possible in accordance with physical distancing guidelines, and masks or face coverings are required to be worn in public areas or when six feet of separation between individuals is not possible. Masks will be supplied to the coaches and student-athletes.

All UNG athletic facilities will remain closed aside from those in use under the supervision of the voluntary workout program.